This Is The Reason Why Last Week Was Depressing AF
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Last Monday, I woke up in the mother of all bad moods. Aggravated, irritated, snappy and fed up, just the smallest things were either drastically p***ing me off, or having me crying into my toast before my day had even started.
I was having one of those days - the ones that tend to creep up on you unexpectedly during lockdown. The ones where it all becomes too much - whether through the lack of social contact, missing loved ones or stressing about work. How long will this drag on for? Will I ever get my hair cut again? Is this actually real or am I living in a dystopian nightmare?
I tried to draw a line under it, putting it down to a severe case of Monday Blues and telling myself the next day would be better. But by Wednesday, I was still feeling just as sh**ty - and I wanted everyone to know about it.
"Anyone else feel like this week is just the worst week of lockdown?" I wrote on my WhatsApp girl group. "Ive been a slug all week. I'm in such a bad mood, so done with it now. Like when you're due on and everything is irritating. But I'm not due on."
Misery loves company, so I was comforted to discover I wasn't the only one having a low-level crisis. One friend messaged me back within 30 seconds, explaining she thought it was "just her" and that she too was feeling low.
"I just didn't expect this to still be going on. I'm just so over it, I want to do nice things," she confided.
Another friend simply wrote: "YES! I'm so grumpy and f***ing over it now."
A quick search on Twitter and I realised we weren't alone. One person had tweeted: "Is it just me or has this week of lockdown been the worst and most mentally draining week yet??"
While another wrote: "Just me or has this been one of the longest, dreariest and hardest to stay cheerful through lockdown weeks..?"
One even said she had never felt so emotionally drained, all seven days of the week. I could have cried - it was exactly how I had been feeling.
At first, I was baffled - why when, for the first time in months we've had a little taste of freedom, have we been left feeling so naff?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced the easing of lockdown back in May. As of the 13th, Brits could sit in their local parks for the first time in months, meet one other person from one other household and engage in unlimited exercise.
Ever since then, the measures have continued to loosen. From 1st June, we were told we could meet up outside, with groups of six people (while sticking to social distancing).
Just last week, on 10th June, the PM announced that single adult households could form a "support bubble" with one other household. And, importantly, Big Macs are back on the menu, with McDonolds welcoming customers once again. And yesterday, Primark fans rejoiced when shops were allowed to reopen.
It didn't make sense; we should all be in better moods, shouldn't we? But I wondered whether these drip-fed snippets of freedom - of what our lives used to look like - were just too painful to handle.
In some ways, I found it easier to get my head around full lockdown. The decisions were made for me, all I had to do was stay inside and keep my head down.
But now, with no clear end in sight, this grey area feels unbearable. Like one of those awful nightmares where you're running towards an open door, but the door keeps moving further and further away. Eventually you'll get there, but the journey is exhausting and you've no idea how long it will take, or what might happen on the way.
To get my head around what was going on, I spoke to psychologist Dr Glenn Mason. He explained that while social connection is of course, a good thing right now, it does come with its anxieties, which are likely to have reached fever pitch last week, thanks to all the loosenings of lockdown.
"Connection with others is so important for our wellbeing," he said. However, now that we are able to do this again in person it will most likely create anxiety for some us. It will leave us questioning, is it really safe to do so?
"What if I am asymptomatic and I bring this into my home and my family or parent gets sick as a result? It would be understandable why people are still feeling cautious and restless around being in contact with others again."
Dr Mason also explains that the constant readjusting over and over again, to different ways of living, can also have an affect on our moods. It makes sense, considering all the rapid change we've been subjected to.
"For several months now we have adjusted to a new way of life in lockdown," he adds. "This has eased in recent weeks and will again further over the coming weeks and months. I think it is normal to be feeling anxious and low when going through any period of readjustment.
"Added to that, many of us having been working from home. This may have cut out a considerable commute and provided us with more hours in the day to spend with family or doing the things that we love to do.
"For some, I imagine it has created a better work-life balance and the thought of returning back to work and loosing that is something many of us will not want to remove from our life."
So what can we do to boost our moods?
"Over the coming weeks and months, my advice to manage this would be checking in with what is within or out of our control. We cannot change those things that are out of our control," explained Dr Mason.
"It would be important in each day to connect to those things that matter in our life although we may have to make some adaptions to how we may have connected with these in the past.
"Another tool that is helpful when planning our day is using the acronym ACE: A stands for achievement, think of something that you could do in your day to leave you with a sense of achievement.
"C stands for connection and closeness to others, whether that be in person or virtually connect to those that bring meaning and purpose in your life.
"E stands for enjoyment, connect to those activities and people that bring fun and joy into your life or even binge on that TV show that makes you love."
Here's to hoping this week feels a little lighter, but if it doesn't, just remember - you're probably handling this much better than you ever could have imagined you would.
If over a period of time however, you notice your low mood isn't shifting, it's worth chatting to your GP. You can also get help and support from mental healthy charity, Mind.
Topics: Life News, News, Coronavirus